Fresh peas in a pod

How to grow peas

Find out how to sow and grow your own peas, in this practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do Sow in January

Do Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do Sow in October

Do Sow in November

Do not Sow in December


Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    3kg per 3m row

  • Spacing

    10cm apart

    Distance between rows equal to height

  • Depth


Forget about frozen peas, nothing compares with the super-sweet flavour of freshly harvested, tender, home-grown peas. Apart from the taste, they’re an attractive crop to grow and won’t take up too much space.

Forget about frozen peas, nothing compares with the super-sweet flavour of freshly harvested, tender, home-grown peas.

Growing peas from seed

Sowing pea seeds in rows
Sowing pea seeds in rows

How to sow and plant peas

Peas are generally sown between March and early July and harvested in summer. For earlier crops that are ready from May onwards, they can be sown in autumn or late winter but you may experience losses from cold weather or mice.

Choose a sunny, well-drained spot as pea plants dislike cold, wet soil. Dig in plenty of garden compost, well-rotted manure or mushroom compost before sowing to improve the soil.

Use a hoe or spade to make a shallow trench, roughly 22cm wide and 3cm deep. Sow peas in two parallel lines, spacing the seeds about 10cm apart. Cover the seeds with soil, water well and label the row. The seedlings should appear in one or two weeks.

Alternatively, start plants indoors in autumn to avoid seeds being eaten by pests. An easy way to ensure you end up with a straight row is to sow into a length of guttering.

How to care for pea

To stop plants flopping about on the ground, put supports in place while they’re still young. Peas climb using shoots called tendrils, which they wrap around just about anything they come into contact with, so choose supports that are thin enough for the tendrils to wind around. Large twigs, known as pea sticks, are the traditional choice, but a row of netting makes a good alternative.

PIcking a ripe pea pod
PIcking a ripe pea pod

How to harvest peas

Peas should be ready to harvest about three months after sowing. Pick mangetout when they’re just beginning to show signs of peas forming inside the pods. Other types are ready once the pods are swollen with peas.

Pick the pods from the bottom of the plant upwards as the lowest are the most mature. Use two hands to avoid damaging the plant. Peas have a habit of hiding under the foliage, so hunt around to make sure that you get them all.

How to store peas

Peas have the best flavour if they’re picked and used straight away, but they’ll keep for a week in the salad compartment of a fridge. If you have a glut, peas can be frozen.

How to prepare and use peas

Peas can be steamed or boiled and served with mint and a knob of butter. Add them to recipes, such as risotto or pasta, during the last few minutes of cooking.

Peas: problem solving

Pea moth can lead to an unpleasant infestation of maggots, but the risk is reduced if you sow early (October to mid-February) or late (June and July). You can also cover the crop with horticultural fleece or fine mesh as soon as you transplant the seedlings or see them emerge.

If slugs are a problem, try copper rings, gritty barriers or biological control. It helps if you grow peas in huge pots, but do keep them well watered.


Sow pea seeds indoors

An alternative to sowing peas outdoors is to raise plants under cover. You can then plant them out as soon as space becomes available, and there’s less risk of mice or other pests leaving gaps in your rows. One of the easiest methods is to sow the seeds in a length of guttering, then simply slide the whole row into the ground once the plants are big enough.

Mange tout
A harvest of pea variety 'Greensage'
A harvest of pea variety ‘Greensage’

Great pea varieties to grow

  • ‘Canoe’ – long, curved pods with tender, sweet-tasting peas
  • ‘Greensage’ – heavy cropper, peas are tender and sweet
  • ‘Kelvedon Wonder’ – early dwarf variety with sweet, tender peas. A prolific cropper
  • ‘Purple Podded’ – showy purple pods and medium-sweet peas, heritage variety
  • ‘Show Perfection’ – good yields, sweet peas